3D03_The New Weird.docx
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The New Weird
SUBGENRE OR BRANCH OF SF (SCIENCE FICTION, SPECULATIVE
1. To Hie from Far Cilenia” and Kraken, two very different approaches to the
strangeness of ‘The City.’
2. Cities are familiar; they’re expanding as we speak, sprouting suburbs with names
like ‘Lark Meadows,’ ‘Deer Run Estates,’ - which are the names of what they’ve
just paved over. What they’ve replaced. Cities replace other kinds of
environments which used to be there. Also malls and industrial parks and so on
transform landscapes into cityscapes.
COGNITIVE ESTRANGEMENT AND THE URBAN LANDSCAPE:
3. In terms of cognitive estrangement, people are familiar with cities even if they
don’t live in them because they’re the background of most t.v. drama and feature
films. Toronto has stood in for most large cities – or ‘the city’ – in so many films
that this says something about non-specific this idea is for us now.
“To Hie From Far Cilenia”
4. Note the utter physical specificity of the first sentence:
1. “Sixteen plastic-wrapped, frozen reindeer made a forest of jutting legs and
antlers in the back of the transport truck.”
1. The oddness of what follows is characteristic of the genre, especially China
Miéville’s work (see also The City in the City, 2009):
2. “…He checked his Geiger counter, then said, ‘It’s them, all right.”
3. What kind of story will this be? Can’t tell.
LOCATION & PHYSICAL REALITY /‘LOCATION’ AND ‘REALITY’/ WORDS
4. We can localize Gennady’s origin, possibly, by his name, and he’s clearly been
stopped by a cop in Sweden.
5. The author tells us what road he’s on, exactly where (212).
6. Gennady explains to some people who’ve just arrived on the scene, only
identified by an uninterpretable acronym (IAEA) that the radioactive reindeer
originated in a post-Chernobyl (real event, 1986) setting (locatable on Google
Maps: Pripyat, a post-catastrophic ghost town in north Ukraine).
WHEN REALITY INCLUDES ‘REALITY’ HOW DO WE KNOW WHICH IS
7. Personal names and place-names continue to provide us with actual and fictional
points of reference, but not always with any way of distinguishing them.
8. New technology: augmented reality glasses
9. The term is comprehensible, but we learn only gradually what they can do.
WHO HAS POWER, AND HOW DO WE KNOW? WHAT KIND OF POWER?
10. Gennady has a strange job and unusual skills. Someone who doesn’t pay much
has funded his truck rental.
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